Covid vaccines saved 20 million lives in first year: study
NNN: Covid vaccines averted nearly 20 million deaths in the first year after their introduction, according to the first major modeling study on the topic published on Friday.
The study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, is based on data from 185 countries and territories collected from December 8, 2020, to December 8, 2021.
It is the first attempt to estimate the number of deaths prevented directly and indirectly as a result of Covid-19 vaccines.
It found that 19.8 million deaths were averted out of a potential 31.4 million deaths that would have occurred if no vaccines were available.
It was a 63 percent reduction, the study found.
The study used official figures, or estimates when official data was not available, for Covid deaths as well as total excess deaths for each country.
Excess mortality is the difference between the total number of people who died from all causes and the number of deaths expected based on previous data.
These analyzes were compared to a hypothetical alternative scenario in which no vaccine was administered.
The model took into account variation in vaccination rates between countries, as well as differences in vaccine effectiveness based on the types of vaccines known to be primarily used in each country.
China was not included in the study due to its large population and strict containment measures, which would have skewed the results, he said.
The study found that high- and middle-income countries accounted for the most deaths averted, 12.2 million out of 19.8 million, reflecting inequalities in access to vaccines around the world.
Nearly 600,000 additional deaths could have been prevented if the World Health Organization (WHO) goal of vaccinating 40 percent of the population in each country by the end of 2021 had been met, it concluded.
“Millions of lives have probably been saved by making vaccines available to people around the world,” said study lead author Oliver Watson of Imperial College London.
“We could have done more,” he said.
Covid has officially killed more than 6.3 million people worldwide, according to the WHO.
But the organization said last month that the true number could be as high as 15 million, when all direct and indirect causes are taken into account.
The figures are extremely sensitive because of how they reflect the handling of the crisis by authorities around the world.
The virus is on the rise again in some places, including in Europe, which is experiencing a resurgence of warm weather attributed in part to Omicron subvariants.
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